More On Michelle Obama and Her Values

Political Night Train found the following interesting, especially when compared to Michelle Obama’s Princeton thesis.  In her thesis Michelle seemed to struggle with whether to go for the “white” value of a high paying corporate job, or to work to support her black community.  She went on to conclude that the more a black is educated at a white institution such as Princeton, and exposed to white values, the more likely a black person is assume those values and place less value on helping lower class blacks.  Michelle seemed quite disappointed when her thesis supported the notion that blacks graduating from Princeton pick up many white values.Looks like Michelle picked up some of those white values, but now, in Oprah-style, wants everyone else to abandon their hopes for a good education and a high paying job.  Liberals always know better than you what’s best for you.As Political Night Train has said, ones values are largely fixed by the age one typically graduates from college.  Now, how many of Michelle’s core values are reflected in those of Trinity Church and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?Michelle’s thesis can be found here at Political Night Train.Michelle Obama: “Don’t Go Into Corporate America”   [Byron York]I have a new story today about Michelle Obama’s visit to Zanesville, Ohio, where she met with a group of women at a local day care center.  According to the U.S. Census, Muskingum County, where Zanesville is located, had a median household income of $37,192 in 2004, below both the Ohio and national averages.  Just 12.2 percent of adults in the county have a bachelor’s degree or higher, also well below the state and national averages.  About 20 percent don’t have a high school degree.  Nevertheless, Mrs. Obama urged them to foreswear lucrative professions like corporate law or hedge fund management and go into the helping industry, even if the sacrifice is great:As she has many times in the past, Mrs. Obama complains about the lasting burden of student loans dating from her days at Princeton and Harvard Law School. She talks about people who end up taking years and years, until middle age, to pay off their debts. “The salaries don’t keep up with the cost of paying off the debt, so you’re in your 40s, still paying off your debt at a time when you have to save for your kids,” she says.“Barack and I were in that position,” she continues. “The only reason we’re not in that position is that Barack wrote two best-selling books… It was like Jack and his magic beans. But up until a few years ago, we were struggling to figure out how we would save for our kids.” A former attorney with the white-shoe Chicago firm of Sidley & Austin, Obama explains that she and her husband made the choice to give up lucrative jobs in favor of community service. “We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do,” she tells the women. “Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.” Faced with that reality, she adds, “many of our bright stars are going into corporate law or hedge-fund management.”

What she doesn’t mention is that the helping industry has treated her pretty well. In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that Mrs. Obama’s compensation at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she is a vice president for community affairs, jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office. And that does not count the money Mrs. Obama receives from serving on corporate boards. She would have been O.K. even without Jack’s magic beans.

Mrs. Obama also bemoaned the amount of money she has to spend — nearly one-third of the median household income in Zanesville — on piano, dance, and other lessons for her two children.  But she was grateful for the concern her husband’s supporters have shown for her. “Everywhere I go, no matter what, the women in the audience, their first question for me is, ‘How on earth are you managing it, how are you keeping it all together?'” she told the women.


Michelle Obama’s Princeton Thesis – Her Black Values Revealed?

Michelle Obama’s senior thesis at Princeton was on the attitudes of black Princeton alumni and attempted to examine the following issues:


>Extent to which black alumni are comfortable interacting with black and whites

>Extent to which black alumni are motivated to benefit black communities in comparison to other things, such as themselves, their families, etc.

>The ideologies black alumni hold with respect to race relations between blacks and whites

>Feelings black alumni have toward the black lower class, such as feelings of obligation that they should help improve the lives of this particular group of blacks.


On Page 2 of her thesis, Michelle Obama states that regardless of her education, integration, assimilation into white culture, she will always be on the periphery of society, never becoming a full participant.


Michelle goes on to say she has acquired some white conservative values, namely getting accepted at a prestigious graduate school and getting a high paying corporate job.


Further along in her thesis, Michelle Obama argues for the Stokely Carmichael, or Black Power position that black must first close ranks, take pride in their blackness and black value system, before entering society as a whole. 

 Carmichael, Malcolm X and the Black Power Movement espoused a black first doctrine.  They wanted nothing less than a black nation within a nation.  This was seen as the means to gain political and economic power equal to that of whites. 

Michelle Obama then goes on to bemoan the separation of black studies from white studies.

 The way black studies were handled by Princeton in the mid-80’s may well have been a function of how the liberal Princeton professors and administrators buying into, and promoting the values of Carmichael and the Black Power Movement. 

On Page 26, Michelle Obama draws the conclusion that the more blacks interact with whites on an intellectual level, the less likely those blacks will value helping poor blacks.


Does this mean white values corrupt black values?


Michelle goes on in her thesis to say that the more blacks become integrated or assimilated into society as a whole, the less motivated those blacks are to benefit the black community and the less positive their attitudes toward lower class blacks.  She goes on to state that as blacks have become more integrated into white society, the more blacks have lost touch with black culture, with some blacks becoming so removed from their culture that they feel ashamed of that culture.


Michelle Obama had hoped that her findings would conclude that as a result of black’s time at Princeton, and despite a high degree of identification with white society, black Princeton alumni would maintain a level of identification with the black community and values.  Her findings did not support this possibility.

 Michelle Obama’s senior thesis would have come at a time in her life when her attitudes, values and view of the world would mostly be fixed.  Is her thesis a reflection of why she was attracted to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Trinity Church.  Does her thesis reflect deep seated feelings about whites and society as a whole.  And is this the basis for Michelle Obama not being proud of her country, until now?